Jaguar is an old name in the car industry, and along with this, they also have a fantastic history. Over the years, they have made an excellent reputation for style and sophistication, which they were able to retain until today. Jaguar cars started as a sidecar business for motorcycles. After a year, they began designing bodies for Austin, Fiat, and other well-known car manufacturers. In this article, we are going to know more about Jaguar cars and how they changed the car industry.
Important Events in Jaguar History
Jaguar was founded by William Walmsley and William Lyons in 1922. It started as a sidecar business named Swallow Sidecar Company. After a year, they changed their name to SS Car LTD. They began designing bodies for car manufacturers such as Fiat and Austin. In 1931, they partnered with Standard Motor Company and started working on their first car, which is the SS1. They finished developing the car that same year and they introduced it at the London Motor Show. The SS1 had a 2.0 liter and six-cylinder side-valve engine that delivered a 75mph, and it costs only £310. Four years later, Jaguar launched its second car, which was the SS90 and SS100 saloons. In 1935, they changed their names from SS Cars Ltd to Jaguar Cars limited to distance themselves from negative connotations for the Nazi SS in Germany.
When the 1940s came, Jaguar cars began manufacturing high-performance luxury cars. But due to the impending war, they had to return to making sidecars for the military. During the battle, Jaguar still managed to make a twin-cam straight-six engine, which is the famous XK120. But after the war, Jaguar saw a decrease in sales, and their business was not exactly going well.
That’s why to bring Jaguar back on its feet, they sold the plant of Motor Panels. The money they got helped the company complete its XK120 model, and once again, Jaguar started to cash in profits. Initially, Jaguar planned to create only 200 models of the XK120. Still, the consumer demand grew, and they were forced to gear up for mass production.
In 1954, Jaguar released the XK140, which is the drophead coupe version of their XK120. It was also that same year when they released the XK150 and invested over a million pounds to create the famous 2.4 MK1 saloons.
In 1961, Jaguar released the Jaguar E-type, which is hailed as the most famous sports car of all time. That same year, Jaguar attained Daimler and purchased Guy Motors. Two years after, Jaguar took over a maker of forklifts and engines, Coventry-Climax. In 1966, the company announced that it would merge with British Motor Corporation.
In 1968, the formal merging of Jaguar Cars and British Motor Corporation happened, and they formed the British Motor Holdings. But, just a few years after their amalgamation, the British government forced them to merge with Leyland Motor Corporation, and together they formed the British Leyland. However, the merging of the companies did not become successful, and they eventually separated in 1975. Jaguar became a public company, and they soon experienced financial difficulties. Sir William retired, but he lived to see Sir John Egan took over the company and lead it back into private ownership in 1984.
In 1986, Sir John Egan became honest. He reported that he had tackled several of the main issues that were preventing Jaguar from potentially selling more cars. In fact, he laid off over 10,000 Jaguar employees to cut operating costs. When 1989 came, Jaguar was not performing well in the making. That’s when Ford started making offers to buy Jaguar sales.
In 1990, Jaguar was removed from the London Stock Exchange listings, which is why they had to accept Ford’s offer and became a part of the New Automotive Group together with Aston Martin, Volvo Cars, and Land Rover. But it seemed like Jaguar made the wrong move because they had never made a profit as a company under Ford’s ownership.
By the early 2000s, Ford officially bought Land Rover, and they came in good terms with Jaguar, which formed Jaguar Land Rover. However, in 2009, Ford decided to sell the company because they were unable to make a profit out of them. After 10 months of negotiations, Ford finally sold Land Rover and Jaguar to Tata Motors, which is an Indian Car Manufacturer. Ford sold the company for 2.3 Billion dollars.